That closer would be veteran Jonathan Broxton as the reliever's agent and the Reds are in serious talks on a three-year contract, sources told FoxSports.com/MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal on Monday. A source told MLB.com that there is "substantial mutual interest for both sides," and that talks could move quickly toward a possible deal by the end of this week.
Broxton, 28, was acquired by Cincinnati from the Royals on July 31. Overall in 60 appearances totaling 58 innings, he posted a 2.48 ERA, 27 saves, 56 hits, 17 walks and 45 strikeouts. He earned $4 million on his one-year contract in 2012.
While Chapman missed 10 days with shoulder fatigue in September, Broxton stepped up and was 4-for-4 in save chances.
Messages seeking comment were left with Reds general manager Walt Jocketty and Broxton's agent, B.B. Abbott.
Over an eight-year career with the Dodgers, Royals and Reds, Broxton has a 3.10 ERA and 111 saves.
By signing Broxton to a long-term deal, the path would be paved for the Reds to move Chapman into the rotation -- something they wanted to do in 2012 before three injuries hampered the bullpen during Spring Training, namely to closer Ryan Madson. The Reds initially tried using Sean Marshall as the closer last season before Chapman was installed in the role on May 20.
Chapman, 24, racked up 38 saves in 43 chances In 68 and was 5-5 with a 1.51 ERA in 68 appearances. That included a franchise single-season record of 27 consecutive saves from June 26-Sept. 4. He walked 23 compared to 122 strikeouts. His triple-digit velocity and dominance made for electric ninth innings at Great American Ball Park.
On the other hand, Chapman was often unable to work more than two straight games and starting would put him on a regular pitching routine. Last spring, he had a 2.12 ERA in five games (four starts), and had the best starting pitcher numbers in camp.
If Chapman would be unsuccessful in the transition, he could always return to closing with Broxton assuming a setup role.